By now, there’s little doubt that you faithful readers have grown tired of endless complaints about the weather here so far this spring, so it’s my solemn vow to not whine about it any further.
There are places in the country dealing with worse weather than the sub-60 degrees and drizzle that turned Surprise Stadium into an ice box Monday.
Anyone who has been foolish enough to wear shorts the past week and the first weekend of camp deserves every bit of frost bite they received. If they think Tuesday is going to be any better, well, at least it’s not going to rain.
And that wasn’t applause coming from the smattering of fans who watched the Texas Rangers play the Milwaukee Brewers.
It was the chattering of teeth.
But the Rangers played twice Monday, losing both games.
Thoughts? Here are The Surprise Five.
1. The news most expected — that Josh Hamilton would not be ready for Opening Day — was delivered just after lunch. Hamilton under went arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Monday morning and won’t even be allowed to run for six weeks.
That timeline takes him past the April 3 season opener and has him ticketed for extended spring training if he wants to continue banging his head against the seemingly unmovable wall.
The Rangers could put an end to the latest comeback attempt by Hamilton, who is in big-league camp on a minor-league deal. There is zero financial risk involved in allowing him to attempt to comeback, but there is the potential that a hobbled Hamilton could potentially get in the way of a prospect who has more of a future in Arlington.
Retirement looks to be more of a stronger possibility than ever, but Hamilton isn’t going to hang it up without at least doing all he can to get on the field. Who knows when that will happen, but it won’t be happening on Opening Day.
2. Adrian Beltre ran at 70 percent effort Monday as he continues to test the Grade 1 strain in his left calf in the hopes of playing in the first round of the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic.
“Not good enough,” the third baseman said.
According to Beltre, final rosters are due Thursday, so he needs to let Moises Alou, general manager of the Dominican team, know by then. It’s conceivable that Beltre, who said the calf is improving, could be better by the first game March 9, but there are no guarantees.
He’s not going to leave Alou short-handed and he’s not going to risk a setback that would put Opening Day in jeopardy.
The hunch here is that Beltre bows out of the first round put joins his countrymen for the second round should they advance from a pool that includes Team USA, Colombia and Canada.
The clock is ticking.
3. Also made official Monday: I won’t complain if Eddie Gamboa makes the Opening Day roster.
He worked two scoreless innings, albeit with ample help from his defense and Milwaukee Brewers base runners, in his debut bid for the fifth spot in the rotation. He entertained with his knuckleball, flashed a quick pickoff move to second base to catch former Rangers prospect Lewis Brinson, and was candid and good-natured with the scribes.
He admitted that his outing was part nerve-wracking but complete fun before delving into more details about his primary pitch. He throws it at three speeds, really slow, not-so slow and slow, when, as he says, he steps on it.
He also mixes in a cut fastball to keep hitters of his fastball, which topped out at 87 mph.
On his pickoff move, he said that his dad used to make him practice it each day when he was younger, a couple times to the point of tears. No worries, though, as Dad was his throwing partner during the off-season.
“He still has his teeth, so he’s OK,” Gamboa said.
Gamboa split his time at Triple A Durham last season between the rotation and the bullpen. Knuckleballers are a little more durable than the normal pitcher, so he could be used more regularly for multiple innings out of the bullpen if he’s not in the rotation.
He’s also a student of the knuckle. He has talked to the best of the best — Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough, R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield. Gamboa said that he spoke to Steven Wright, the Boston knuckleballer, just Sunday.
Gamboa would be a hoot to watch and deal with over the course of 162 games. I won’t complain.
4. It’s never a good thing in an intrasquad game when a pitcher has his inning rolled, meaning he hasn’t pitched efficiently enough or well enough to get three outs.
That happened in Connor Sadzeck’s first inning Friday in the intrasquad game. He was wild and hittable, a combination that also is never a good thing.
But he was good against the Brewers, tossing two scoreless innings and pumping his fastball to 98 mph against his old teammate Brinson.
Brinson got a single, but was thrown out from left field by Joey Gallo on a single that hit third base and trickled down the line. Sadzeck then helped himself, snagging a chopper back to the mound and starting a run down that ended in a double play.
With his size, velocity and breaking, he would seem to be a nice option for relief duty. The Rangers, though, haven’t discussed that and probably shouldn’t as a team that has been unable to develop its own starting pitching.
5. Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor had the first two Rangers hits against the Brewers in a game in which they were out-hit 11-3. Any guesses as to who had the third hit?
Michael De Leon, of course, who is the early leader for just-in-case player. As a JIC, as they are sometimes called, De Leon has a .333 batting average and is making every play defensively.
Ronald Guzman was the JIC MVP last spring, just edging Jared Hoying. Matt Bush also made an impression. Nick Williams made a strong showing in 2015 before he was dealt to Philadelphia in the Cole Hamels trade.
Leody Taveras, considered by some to be the Rangers’ top prospect this season, appeared a few times last spring as a 17-year-old.
Until minor league games start in a few weeks, the best way to see the Rangers’ best prospects who aren’t in big-league camp is as JICs. Typically, they don’t appear until later in games, so don’t bow out once the regulars are lifted.
You might miss the next big thing.